Hope for the Hopeless is an Advance Special of our Desert Southwest Conference. The ministry was started by Pastor Surafel Gebretsadik, who simply wanted to get children, some as young as 3-4 years old, off the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and into a shelter where they could be safe and cared for. Over the years, the ministry has expanded its reach, but continues its focus. It now has placed over 400 children in foster care and has a transition program that helps the children learn socialization skills. A boarding school, the newest addition to the shelter, will open in several months and serve 500 children to curb the number of children living and fending for themselves on the streets.
One of the ministries Hope for the Hopeless has started is helping the church respond to the AIDS crisis. If we can save the lives of the parents, we slow the number of children left homeless. Sadly, there is still a stigma about AIDS similar to what we experienced in the U.S. in the early to mid-1990s. Because of the stigma, many people will not even be tested for the disease. Those that have the disease can receive medication provided by the Clinton Foundation. Several trainings have been held with an incredible amount of success to address this stigma and bring a new perspective and response to this crisis.
The church has a profound influence on the lives of its congregants. We have already provided several seminars in which hundreds of church leaders have attended. These leaders and pastors serve churches with ten’s of thousands of people in attendance. After the training, many of the pastors lead the way by their examples. They and their spouses are tested, breaking down the barriers for others.
All the seminars to date have been led by people from the U.S. The next phase of this ministry is training Ethiopia church leaders to lead these seminars. Hope for the Hopeless has received a $10,000 grant from the General Board of Global Ministries. With this grant, we will be able to write a curriculum, create video training tapes, translate everything into Amharic, and lead training the trainer seminars. Curriculum development with Ethiopian partners will begin in March 2014 with a mission trip to Ethiopia.
We wanted to publicly thank the GBGM for their support, and also let you know the impact your generosity is making in the world.